Welcome – MDG Report and Post-2015 Agenda Launch

Dec 9, 2013

As protocol has been established, warm acknowledgement and thanks to everyone present…

Honourable Santiago Castillo, Minister of Economic Development, Chief Executive Officers, Colleagues in the Diplomatic Corps, UN Representatives, Representatives of National Partner Organizations, ladies and gentlemen - Good Afternoon.

Let me first congratulate the country on this its third successive Millennium Development Goals Report. Belize has shown tremendous commitment in documenting its progress toward the eight development goals. This effort is significant in order to measure gains made, highlight success factors and assess gaps required for policy strengthening and coherence. The completion of this third report is a signal that there is increased ownership for the MDGs in Belize.

As you are now aware, the MDGs are a guiding framework for building a better world for all people, rich and poor, in the 21st Century. They are time-bound—to be achieved by 2015—and have measurable targets. They recognize the interdependence between growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development, as well as the importance of bringing together the responsibilities of developing and developed countries to achieve all eight goals: 1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, 2) achieve universal primary education, 3) promote gender equality and empower women, 4) reduce child mortality, 5) improve maternal health, 6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, 7) ensure environmental sustainability, 8) develop a global partnership for development.

The MDGs may be global targets, but they should be addressed locally at the national and sub-national levels. Localizing the MDGs implies that local actors and institutions continue to have a fundamental role to play if these goals are specifically targeted as development opportunities to improve people’s lives. National capacity to address the MDGs is inextricably linked with how governmental policies perceive and respond to local level needs. Over the past years, the importance of placing the MDGs in the context of local realities and capacities to broaden policy-making dialogue, re-sourcing, and actions has gained wider recognition. The MDGs are a means to an end. They are an equally effective tool for promoting local development as they are for long-term national goals. Adaptation of the MDGs to fit local realities ensures that the national development goals will be achieved at both national and sub-national levels. This is now even more critical as Belize embarks on the development of its new Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy that extends beyond 2015. The MDGs as they are currently articulated may not be the explicit focus of the strategy however the current indicators remain relevant for tracking Belize’s developmental progress. The GPRS development and subsequent implementation can serve as an excellent opportunity to achieve the unfinished business of the MDGs and of course articulate new country specific goals.

Minister Castillo, on behalf of the MDG Research Team, Technical Working Groups and contributors, I present to you the MDG Goals Report, 2013 and Post 2015 Agenda.